Whether you have heard about St. Jordan’s Day or its ecclesiastical name Epiphany it means one and the same day and holiday. There is evidence proving that the holiday was celebrated even as early as the 2nd century AD. Actually, until the 4th century AD St. Jordan’s Day coincided with Christmas so Epiphany appeared to be the collective name of the two feasts.
Later, the Church decided to separate the holidays and since then the 25th December is known as Christmas and Epiphany is celebrated on the 6th January.
In Bulgaria there is a long-lived tradition related to the date of the 6th January. Usually, on that particular day a ceremonial throw of a cross from the local church takes place. The ritual is put into practice wherever a water basin is available.
After the finding of the sacred object, a mass is served and everyone takes a quantity from the holy water in order to bring it back home as this water is believed to preserve people’s health.
All men gather together and form a traditional Bulgarian horo (a traditional dance presented in a previous blog post). This custom dates back to old times when men used to build a dam and they were the only ones who took part in the festive horo. What is more, this dance is intended for health, fertility of the land and good luck for the new year.
Kalofer is the Bulgarian city which is famous for the greatest performances of the ritual dance and attracts hundreds of people from all around the country.
On St. Jordan’s Day, by tradition three breads are prepared. One of them is for the home, the second – for the guests, and the last is placed near the door of the house for the passers-by.